Abstract 3310: Sexual Problems in Heart Failure Patients Compared to a Community Dwelling Elderly Population without Cardiac Disease
Background: Patients with Heart Failure (HF) may suffer from sexual problems as a result of their disease. The aim of this study is to describe sexual problems of outpatient stable HF patients and describe the importance and satisfaction with sexual activity of HF patients compared to an age matched community dwelling population without cardiac disease.
Method: Data were collected in 234 HF patients 18 months after a HF hospitalisation (mean age 65 ± 13, 62% male, mean left ventricular ejection fraction 32% ± 14). Additional data were collected from 850 community dwelling elderly (mean age 65 ± 7, 63% male) without heart disease or hypertension. Participants completed a questionnaire on their perceived importance and satisfaction of sexual function in their lives (on a scale from 0–10). They also reported on their sexual problems and their perceived reasons for these problems.
Results: Looking back on the period before their disease HF patient reported the importance of sexual activity on a 10 point scale as 6,4 ± 2 This is comparable to the importance community dwelling elderly without heart disease attributed to sexual activity (6.0 ± 3). However, as a result of HF, HF patients rated the importance as 4,7 ± 3 (t=5,0 p<.001). Patients also reported a decrease in satisfaction with their sexual activities due to HF from a score of 6,8 ± 2 (before HF) to 4,8 ± 3 at this moment (t=5,7, p <.001). The elderly without heart disease rated their satisfaction as 6.2 ± −3). Loss of interest in sexual activity and decreased excitement did not differ between HF patients and the non heart diseased elderly. However, impotence was significantly more frequent reported by the HF patients (37% vs 11 %, Chi2 = 13, p<.001) HF patients cited medication (14%), anxiety (9%), dyspnea (30%) and fatigue (28%) as underlying reasons for their sexual problems.
Conclusion: Heart Failure patients report a decreased satisfaction with sexual activity as result of their disease. Sexual activityy also has become less important in their lives. Both satisfaction and importance differed significantly from community dwelling elderly without heart disease. HF patients rate symptoms, anxiety and medication as main reason for their sexual problems